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Siesta Key Thursday, Sep. 22, 2011 6 years ago

Our View: This is the best we can do?


Seriously? The sign on this page is the best that Sarasota County could come up with not only to celebrate the Siesta Key Beach’s top national ranking but to commemorate it for future visitors?

As all residents know by now, Dr. Beach named Siesta Key Beach the No. 1 beach in the nation before Memorial Day. Of course we all know that it is one of the world’s premier beaches. But the result has been a boom in tourism, with many businesses reporting increases of 20% and more on the Key and tourist-tax receipts increasing in kind.

The Pelican Press and others have urged the county to memorialize the designation to let future visitors know with utter clarity that when they enter Siesta Key they can lounge about on the white sands of the best beach in the nation.

And the county responded — with small white letters on a mud-brown sign, tacked below the far more inspired bus stop signs for Sarasota County Area Transit. It is easily lost and gives no hint there is bustling community pride at the designation. “Siesta Beach #1 Beach USA.” Huh? Sure, it’s a sign, but could we reach for some semblance of English grammar? Maybe a “Welcome to … !” As it stands, it is an uninspired, dull clutter sign that few will notice or remember.

In her understated fashion, Sarasota County Commissioner Nora Patterson, who lives on Siesta Key, said that while she was glad to get the signs posted, “They could be much improved upon.” More like scrapped and started over.

It’s more than disappointingly crummy signage.

The bigger lesson, again, should not be lost. There are only a few things at which the government is good. This is exhibit 4,873 why government should just stick to those most basic services.

Why? Here is how it happened.

The staff in two county departments collaborated and created a sign they could make in the county sign shop. Yes, the county has its own sign shop. The signs were created — and this is key — so that they “are within regulations and do not require any special permit,” wrote Rob Lewis, executive director of planning and development services, to commissioners Aug. 31.

We sure wouldn’t want to violate or change any the of rules in the county’s ever thickening code books only to promote the best beach in the nation.

We get all of this bureaucratic power together in one place and manage to generate this: “Siesta Beach #1 Beach USA” in brown and white. Ugh.

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